The food delivery platform aims to improve efficiency and speed of delivery
Meituan, China’s largest food delivery service platform, is testing delivery via robots for offices and hotels in Beijing and Shenzhen.
Currently, as confirmed by Xia Huaxia, chief scientist of Meituan, on the sidelines of the World Artificial Intelligence Conference, held in Shanghai, the experimentation already seems to be well underway, with already thousands of orders delivered. Xia also stated that robots and humans will work together to deliver orders in the near future.
Two of the tested robots are developed by Meituan himself
Meituan, which currently has more than 600,000 delivery staff, first created a team to develop unmanned delivery services in October 2016. The move was aimed at responding to growing labor demands and overall operation costs. For Xia, the company, which handles over 25 million daily orders, expects its delivery service to grow by 200% by 2025.
Among the tested and developed robots are Xiaodai, an outdoor transport robot, which can wander around fences and is able to choose the best delivery routes, avoiding any obstacles on the road. And Fudai, the in-house delivery robot, which works mainly in hotels and office buildings and can take food orders to users on different floors using elevators.
Meituan plans to build its drone delivery network over the next five years
With the help of indoor delivery robots, Meituan is trying to reduce delivery times from five to seven minutes per order, thus significantly improving delivery efficiency.
“If the working life of a delivery robot can last three years, the cost will not exceed that of the work,” Xia said.
Meituan also plans to build its drone delivery network over the next five years. The drones would be able to deliver orders to users within a radius of 5 km in 10 minutes, as confirmed by the company itself.